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start off with the surprising resignation of pope benedict xvi. thanks for joining us tonight. i'm brian bolter. >> i'm shawn yancy. it's the announcement that stunned virtually everyone. the pope will step down the end of this month. fox 5's will thomas is in the newsroom with the reason behind the move and how the church plans to fill one of the most prestigeous jobs in the world. >> the reason, the pop says he's physically and mental -- the pope says he's physically and mentally not up to it. cardinal joe george ratzinger with the -- cardinal george ratzinger and by all counts pope benedict actually a shy man who loves reading and writing books more than greeting crowds. >> he has come to the conclusion that he doesn't have the physical energy any longer to discharge his duties as pope. >> cardinal wuerl says that admission from the pope is more evidence the father is a him man. at 85 years old -- a humble man. at 85 years old pope benedict 16th says he no has the strength to lead and no one including the archbishop saw this coming, the first time it's happened in nearly 600 years. >
. >>> pope benedict xvi is scheduled to resign from the papacy on february 28th. the italian moda is reporting a whirlwind of controversy around his resignation. >> reporter: pope benedict xvi praying with cardinals on the last day of religious services. outside that spiritual haven, a storm is brewing. the vatican is lashing out at the italian media for a string of what they call, quote, defamatory falsified reports. >> it's deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave and the cardinal electors will be held in conscience and before god to freely indicate their choice that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories. >> reporter: italian newspapers in recent days suggested a secret docier prepared for the pope by three cardinals who investigated leaked documents in 2012. the report alleges a series of scandals involving sex, money, and power and suggesting a, quote, shadowy gay lobby in the vatican. -- vatican. there is speculation the contents is what caused pope benedict xvi to resign. >>
next leader will be after the resignation of pope benedict xvi. the rule calls for a 15 to 20- day period before the cop clay begins. it's now possible that the meeting to choose the successor could start sooner than march 15th, the earliest day it could begin. >> the constitution also says this is to allow time for the arrival of all those who may need that time to arrive. however, if all cardinals had already arrived, there would be nobody to wait for. >> reporter: the start of the conclave is of particular importance because of the upcoming holy week that includes palm sunday and easter. the new pontiff would have to be installed by march 17th to have a play. pope ben ticket is holdle holding some of his private audiences on saturday meeting with italian prime minister. the pope's twitter account with 1.5 million followers will go silent the day he retires. >> during the days after the 28th, no tweet will be sent because there is no pope to send it. and, so, when the new pope will be elected, we are going to present to him such an opportunity. >> reporter: the pope's last genera
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